Tue, Jan 08, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Habitat of immense cypress trees found at Shuang-guei lake

Staff writer, with CNA

Officials from the Forestry Bureau’s Taitung Forest District Office survey a giant Taiwan cypress tree within the county’s Dapu Mountain area in an undated photograph.

Photo: CNA, courtesy of the Forestry Bureau

A habitat of about 100 giant Taiwanese cypress trees has been discovered near the southern end of the Central Mountain Range, with the trunk of the largest of the trees measuring 15m in circumference.

The trees were discovered in the Dapu Mountain (大浦山) area by a 13-member team from the Forestry Bureau’s Taitung Forest District Office last month during an annual wildlife survey in the mountain range.

The office’s Lin Jun-jung (林潤榮) said on Dec. 25 that the team spent 11 days surveying the Shuang-guei Lake Major Wildlife Habitat, which is known for having a diverse ecosystem encompassing vast virgin forests, as well as about 26 species of mammals and 86 species of birds.

The biggest tree found required 10 people to encircle its trunk, Lin said.

The survey team flew by helicopter to the mountainous region and then trekked for several days across the area, the office said.

Team member Wu Wei-hau (吳偉豪) said it was his first time surveying the natural reserve, adding that the lake enjoys distinctive atmospheric conditions that are favorable for ferns, lycopods and epiphytic orchids.

“For academics who study these plants, the lake is a sacred place,” Wu said.

However, the office’s disclosure of the location of the Taiwanese cypress trees has raised concerns that it would encourage illegal logging, as the wood is very valuable.

A 50kg chunk of Taiwanese cypress can fetch NT$20,000 to NT$60,000.

However, the office countered that logging the trees would not be financially viable due to their remote location.

The best way to protect natural resources is to make public where they are, so as to raise awareness about them, the office said.

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